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Meet The Team

Peter and Sue

Peter and Sue met in 1960 when they were still at school and celebrated their Golden Wedding in 2016. Born in Accrington they have built their business in the Lake District, the area which they came to love over years of fell walking, orienteering and delight in the countryside. Sue trained at Ambleside based Charlotte Mason College in the 60’s and enjoyed a nineteen year teaching career ending up as Deputy Head of the British School in Al Khobar (Saudi Arabia). Peter came from a scientific background before moving into management and finally heading up a consultancy in Al Khobar. Peter, Sue and son Chris lived for nine years in Saudi before returning to Ambleside and embarking on their own business career.

In 1986, following the dream, they bought a guest house overlooking Rydal Water – quite a change from hot and sunny Saudi Arabia. Then came a chance to take over a small fledgling cottage agency called Heart of the Lakes – a daring move at a time when self-catering was in its infancy. Cottage Life came along shortly afterwards and added to the portfolio, thus making the business the oldest established cottage letting company in the Lake District with a history going back to 1975. The rest, as they say ‘is history’ but there could be a book full of adventures and anecdotes waiting to be written.

Peter and Sue have many shared interests – good food, good wine, good company and a wonderful family with three grandchildren and not forgetting black Labrador Wellie. They have been fortunate to travel widely, have played golf (badly!) over many years. Peter has done his fair share of Munro bagging and celebrated his 70th birthday with a climb up Suilvan in Wester Ross. Sue enjoys a game of bridge, is a keen pianist and takes a turn on the church organ in Rydal. They love Italy, and Scotland in equal measures and love to spend time in either. 

Secret treats? Cake, biscuits and Italian Ice-cream eaten in Italy, (especially Chocolate!)


Chris Jackson

Chris is a Director of Heart of the Lakes and has been here for ever… after asking Peter (his father) if he needed some help with changing over cottages one weekend back in 1991, to help fund some time off between leaving school and before going on to whatever might have been next.

Wellington Jackson

Wellington/Welly is the Heart of the Lakes office dog! You will see that he features heavily throughout our marketing and media. If Welly is not in the office he can often be found out and about with Chris looking at a potential job!

Joanna Harris

After living out of the UK for a few years, Jo decided to return to the Lake District. She loves her job as Operations Manager, visiting employees, owners and properties all over the North and South Lakes. She states she works with the best 'team' in the world.

Marie Holland

Marie moved to the Lake District 18 years ago from sunny Blackpool chasing her husband to be! She eventually married him and now has a son, Max, who keeps her extremely busy. Marie is The General Manager and joined the company over 10 years ago.

Julian Cottell

Julian has a great sense of humour and is a pleasure to work with according to his colleagues, and is often mistaken for Tom Sellick (so they say…tongue in cheek!). He came to Heart of the Lakes over 5 years ago after a 30 year career in the hospitality industry with varying roles in Hotels, the Merchant Navy, and pri...

Matt Hartnett

Born and bred in the Lake District, Matt has recently joined the Heart of the Lakes team but has previously worked in the Tourism Industry for the past 10 years. As a ‘local’, Matt spends a lot of time around Cumbria exploring the hidden gems, and when not doing that he can be found on the hockey pitch or the golf ...

Mary Palmer

Mary is a London lass who has worked as a croupier in London and travelled the world working on cruise ships as well as spending 7 years as a pub landlady, so to find herself now living in the last 15 years in the tranquil and peaceful Lake District is as much a surprise to her as it is to us. She has a great sense of...

Beth Marshall

Beth has worked for Heart of The Lakes for over 10 years and has lived in the Lakes for over 15 years. She can usually be found walking Barney her Staffordshire bull terrier in local parks and fields with her husband Pete, a local restaurant manager, and two children Ella and Josie.

Ruth Bagnall

Ruth has worked for Heart of the Lakes for a number of years, having moved back to the Lake District, an area Ruth and her husband love for the fabulous scenery, the people and the fell walking.

Sarah Kelly

Sarah is originally from South Africa. Spending most of this time working for Action for Blind People. Sarah will always have a soft spot for the organisation but felt it was time to move on. She has recently started working for Heart of The Lakes and is thoroughly enjoying her time with us. The rest of the team have r...

Lou Earnscliffe

I moved from Dorset to the Lake District 2 years ago with my husband and daughter. My husband grew up in Hawkshead and wanted to move back to his childhood home.

Lynn Logan

As one of the longest standing employees at Heart of the Lakes, there really is not much Lynn does not know about the company. She is a strong and adventurous woman with a lot of passion for everything she does. Hanging around the Mersey and living life in Liverpool Lynn dreamed of being a mermaid, however, when she...

Maureen Reid

Born in Essex during the Canvey Island floods, Maureen obviously has water in her soul. She moved to the Lake District nearly 40 years ago and has never looked back. When she isn't spending time with her grandchildren out and about, she enjoys a chilled glass of wine and the company of friends

Dee Bradley

Dee moved to the lakes in June 2013 and she has worked for HOTL since August 2014. Dee says the best thing about the lakes is the gorgeous scenery and the drive to work past Windermere lake every morning. Dee moved to the lakes because she loves the outdoors.

Graeme Drylie

Graeme first came to the Lakes for a long weekend over 30 years ago, and he’s still here!! He met and married a local girl and now has 2 grown up daughters. He worked overseas in Saudi Arabia, Kenya and Turkey for 20 years then in a bid to settle down and enjoy the quiet life he came to Heart of the Lakes: - that was...

Alan Wilson

Alan is a local lad through and through. Born and raised in Cumbria. Alan claims he knows the fells and lakes like the back of his hand and a majority of the locals too. Alan is part of the maintenance team and loves all aspects of his job, mainly the daily routes around towns and villages, and especially meeting new p...

Paddy Davidson

Michael, affectionately known as “Paddy” grew up in The Lake District and started working for Heart of the Lakes in 1993 as part of our maintenance team and stayed with us until his retirement in 2000, and then in 2006 he was missing Heart of the Lakes so much he decided to come back on a part time basis. He loves pow...